NHTSA buys car that belonged to Runaway Lexus Lady for $42,500 -- twice Blue Book value
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said moments ago that it has purchased the 2007 Lexus ES350 that took a terrified Rhonda Smith on a 100-mph, six-mile near-death ride in 2006 in order to test the vehicle to find out what went wrong.
NHTSA paid $42,500 for the vehicle. According to Kelley Blue Book, the value of a 2007 Lexus ES350 with 30,000 miles on it (which is what this car has) in "good" condition is $23,185. And I'm being as generous with "good" as I can be with any car that took its driver on a 100-mph, six-mile near-death ride. Even if the car was in "excellent" condition, Blue Book value is only $24,485.
NHTSA said the Smiths sold the car with 3,000 miles on it and did not name the buyer or whoever eventually sold it to the agency.
NHTSA will take the Lexus to its Vehicle Research & Test Center in East Liberty, Ohio, to try to find out what happened.
Despite repeated denials from Toyota, many drivers and some lawmakers -- and at least one engineering professor -- think the unintended acceleration that has plagued so many Toyotas could be caused by electronic problems, not the mechanical reasons Toyota has cited.
“NHTSA will thoroughly examine the Smiths’ car as we work to get to the bottom of possible causes for sudden acceleration," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
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February 26, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
Categories: Congress , Corporations , The Ticker | Tags: NHTSA, Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years
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